Channel: Mirza Yawar Baig
Sh. Mirza Yawar Baig’s keynote address at the Islamic Education Conference 2015 in Oxford titled ‘Faith education in times of change’.
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excellencies Ladies and gentlemen,
I submit to you that faith education is about restoring dreams.
The bubbles of all education, further education in any education must be and is to awaken the conscience.
I love this quote of Barbara winters which I want to share with you. And she said, when you come to the end of the light of all that you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen, there will be something for him to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.
Barbara winters creator said, from
Allah who Maharajah
Allah He for her husband.
Because it's faith that enables us to attempt the impossible.
Let's see what the root of our problems today is. What is our world today? What do we claim and what it is?
Calvin, I believe should be elected as king of the world, and that will solve all our problems. And he says, action show what is in our hearts.
We have a world of contrasts that speak to us in the language of science, readable only by those who can see.
And in the words of Neil Gaiman, there is no there are none so blind as those who will not listen.
I submit to you that we believe that we are at the peak of knowledge, the peak of civilization the peak of prosperity, and we believe that we have the secret of everlasting happiness and contentment, but claims must be substantiated.
What we claim versus what the data shows, let's take a look. We believe that we are committed to eradicating hunger.
But when we look at basic necessities, 3 billion people, which is 50% of the population of the world, lives on less than two and a half dollars a day.
Tonight, as we speak, more than a billion children will go to bed hungry 22,000 of them die every day due to poverty.
Not one of those in this room, may Allah protect you. on this planet. 105 million people do not have enough food to eat. And more than 750 of them lack adequate access to clean drinking water.
I submit to you that perhaps many of us do not even understand the word basic necessity in the way that those people understand it.
The environmental protection agency of the United States
in their report says that
in the year 2012. The largest segment of wastage was food 34 point 7 million tonnes amounting to
the United Kingdom 7.2 million tonnes amounting to $17.7 billion dollars. And India my country, nine and a half or close to $9.1 billion worth of food is thrown away and wasted.
How much food is wasted? According to FAO estimates,
roughly 33%, one third of the food produced by the world for human consumption is annually lost or wasted.
At 4.1 4 trillion, that's enough sustenance to feed 3 billion people. The people who go to bed hungry, did not go to bed hungry, if we simply don't waste our food, by all that food on a football field, and you will have a putrifying casserole miles high.
What can we do about it and that's my belief. I will not allow what is not in my control to prevent me from doing what is in my control. And I quote for you Mother Teresa's words, you can feed 100 people that feed just one. I want to stop here and ask you this question. Are you willing to feed just one additional person from today going forward for the rest of your life? Yes or no?
Let's look at
our spend on
armaments the United States spends in the in the year 2012. The US spent $711 billion, which is more than the
next 10 countries put together China, Russia, UK, France, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia and Germany and
Three other countries, all put together, spent 695 billion, and the US alone spent 711 billion on armaments to kill, not to feed. hardly surprising because investment goes where the return is highest maximize our ROI is the slogan of all investment bankers.
What is the alternative? Let's look at this in 1998. The UN estimated that it would take 40 billion annually to offer basic education, clean water sanitation, reproductive health and basic health nutrition to every person in every developing country. It means nobody needs to die because of malnutrition. Nobody, no child needs to go hungry to bet no person needs to die because of waterborne diseases. No one needs to die because of reproductive diseases. That was in 1998. Today, it would cost not 40 billion, but 58 billion. What is that compared to 1.4 trillion on weapons alone.
Hunger kills, believe it or not, the World Food Program says the poor are hungry and the hunger traps them in poverty. Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Believe it or not, we claim that we are committed to the protection of people in the environment. But when we look at the report of suicides, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that in 2013, someone died by suicide every 12.8 minutes in the US alone. I submit to you
that happiness doesn't cause suicide, despair, does.
Living Planet report or should we say dying planet report the world worldwide fund for nature's report 2014 says the number of wild animals in the world has been halved. 50% gone during the last 40 years. And that was only the ones that we counted.
We claim that we are advocated to we are we are committed to eradicating poverty.
The wealth of the world 0.7 which is less than 1% 0.7% on 41% of the world's assets, while 68% of the world
68% of the world owns less than 3% of the assets.
Some cartoons are not funny.
We claim that we are committed to gender equality. But ask why do we pay women less for the same amount of work?
These figures are correct to 2014 where in the US women are paid 20% less than men for the same work. I don't know what the numbers for the UK and for Europe is not those numbers are I don't know might be worth taking a look.
We ask who's responsible? I submit to you that we are responsible. This quote is from the website of global poverty.
Some questions? What exactly is the cause of this insanity? Who is responsible for this madness? Where are we as humans headed? Who is mining the fate of this planet? religion, politics, ideologies, national borders, cultural identities all fade out and shy away from these troubling questions. And I say to you, we are responsible, you and I are responsible. The single most powerful change to transform the world is to move from the world is responsible for me to I am responsible for the world. That is the change that we need to make. And I submit to you that faith based education is where the change is made.
Question is all of what I've said, Is this a logistics or resources issue? Or is it an issue of conscience? As I said, the purpose of our education is to awaken the conscience
I got for you from Adriano camelina from actionaid cannon Jen, from syriacus, cumin I do from Greenpeace, and Winnie benimar from Oxfam, who said we cannot rely on technological fixes. We cannot rely on the market and we cannot rely on the global elites. We need to help strengthen the power of the people to challenge the people with power. securing a just and sustainable world means challenging the power of the 1%.
We love to talk about our growth economy and we say that money makes the world go round. I submit to you that growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell.
All religions say that money must be shared at the modern
Financial System says the opposite. Maximize consumption glorify greed. consumption is God malls are the temples, salesmen are the high priests, and admin are the evangelists. Retail replaced spirituality, and the sale of antidepressants has skyrocketed. But where does morality enter this game?
I quote for you from Frederic Bastiat, who said, When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of people living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it.
Fifth, education is not about theology, it's about humanity.
I submit to you that our beings are not our bodies alone, but perhaps more importantly, our souls and our spirits. Our spirit needs nourishment, and sustenance, like our body does. And only faith education can address this need, because we become our best only in the expression of our spirit.
is Allah salam, Jesus said to His apostles, I tell you the truth, if you had faith, even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain move from here to there, and it would move.
Nothing would be impossible. ask myself, do I,
as a follower of Muhammad and Jesus, and Moses and Abraham, have this faith,
faith, education, because faith empowers.
The role of faith education is to build bridges, not walls, to open the heart to the best of human values, to awaken the spirit to connect to the Creator, to teach nurturing, caring, compassion and the courage to stand up for the truth. Because in spirit, we are all one.
I submit to you that we must change. We must change our perspective of how do I define the problem.
We need to change the definition from theirs to ours.
This is a picture of the man who changed the definition from this to ours. Not on a Christian, a top chef in a five star hotel mother I gave it all up to feed the poor, and that's him, feeding a man who is mentally deranged.
Our criteria we need to change for decision making.
Allah subhanaw taala said in
mankind we have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one who has the greatest taqwa. Verily, Allah is all knowing, all the way. The best one is the one whose actions are best.
I say do the word drone.
I want you to tell me what's the picture in your mind? drone used to mean two things. A sound or an insect. Today, drone means something else. What is the picture in your mind when I say the word drone? On the beach in your mind? And look at this film.
What is your emergency? That's my dad. I think you had a heart attack. Please help is my breathing anymore. To stay calm. What's your name? You Anna? Good. Joanna. We've got your location the ambulance drove is on its way. Remove his top shirt to uncover his torso. Okay.
Great. Can you go to the nearest exit the ambulance drove is almost there. Okay.
I'll be talking through the drone now. So you can put down the phone.
Please pick up the drone
and bring it to your father.
For the green did
not place the pads on your father's chest.
Good. I can see that the pads on properly.
Joanna, please stay clear of your father. We'll take it from here.
Hi, I'm Alec Momo. I'm a graduate student at the TU Delft working on a project for living tomorrow and musicians.
Our vision is to improve current emergency infrastructure with a network of drones.
Capable of saving lives.
At over 100 kilometers per hour, these drones create an ultra fast response system capable of increasing this survival chance from 8% to 80%. This is because the ambulance drone is not affected by current road infrastructure, but is capable of flying in a straight line, bringing down the average response time of an ambulance from 10 minutes to one. My question to you is, who decides what technology should be used for?
It's not what you have, but what you do that count that counts, not what you had. But what you did that will be remembered. Why further education because we have to teach the impossible.
In the words of J. Krishnamurti said is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. I submit to you that today we live in a profoundly sick society.
The first impossible that we have to teach is to have hope, when all around them is despair. At present, you have to suffer at
the Foundation, which is the world's largest ambulance service, and operates free nursing homes, orphanages clinics, women's shelters and rehab centers for drug addicts and the mentally ill in Pakistan.
A man who has hope in an environment which spells only despair,
to have mercy when they have been brutalized by cruelty.
The Quran says about about the treatment of prisoners. Those who give food however, be however great be their own need for it to the poor, the orphan and the captive. This is only possible when you believe in the judgment of the hereafter.
After medical comments allows the newbies never defeated the Franks during the Crusades. Oliver scholastic as the historian praised the Islamic laws of war, commenting on how alcohol supplied the defeat of Frankish army with food, and he said,
that such goodness, friendship and charity come from God, when men whose parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters had died in agony at our at our hands, whose lands we took, whom we drove naked from their homes, revived us with their own food, when we were dying of hunger, and showered us with kindness, even when we were in their power,
the possibility to have human humility, when their environment rewards arrogance, I present to you one of my role models and heroes, President Nelson Mandela.
The story goes that the chairman of HP
wanted to meet President Mandela because he was working with the NASA Mandela foundation on some charitable projects. And the President invited him for breakfast.
When the President of HP drove in to the presidential palace of the President of South Africa, he found the president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, waiting for him at the bottom of the foot of the stairs.
The chairman got out and they went into the house. As they sat down for breakfast, President Mandela asked the HP president, he said, Was there somebody else with you in the car?
The President said yes, that was my driver. President Mandela said, Give me a minute. He left the room.
And he soon returned with the driver. They sat down, they had breakfast. They finished finish. As they were going home.
The driver said to his boss, he said to him, he said, Sir, I want to thank you very much. Because of you. Today, I was able to meet my president and that was my life's dream. He said My dream was to meet the man who gave us freedom in this country.
But I am a poor man, and there was no way that I could possibly meet him. But thanks to you, I was able to meet him. The president he said to him while thanking me. He said because President Mandela came to me and said, You're young you're your boss wants you to have breakfast with us.
The possibility to stand for justice. When that is a capital crime.
The Quran says oh, you believe stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah, even though it'd be against yourself or your parents or your kin. Be Here richer for Allah is a better protector for both of you. So do not follow the last of your heart so that you may not be unjust and if you destroy your witness or refuse to give it Verily Allah is Ever well acquainted with what you do. Harvard Law School quoted is I have the Quran as one of the greatest expressions of justice in the world.
about stopping of injustice the Prophet sallallahu Sallam said, quote in Bible say the Delano whoever amongst us is an evil
He must change it with his hand. And if he's unable to do that, then with his tongue, and if he's unable to do that, then in his heart he must hate it. And that last one is the weakest form of faith. I submit to you the silence of the good is the best aid to the evil. The Impossible to be concerned about problems that don't directly affect them. The criterion for the best
Moran Allah subhanaw taala said you are the best of people selected for the benefit of the people for the benefit of all mankind. rasulillah Sallam said the best of people is the one who is the most beneficial to the people who did not say the best of you is the one who praised the most Is it the best of you is the one who was the most beneficial to the people
that spread peace he said oh people spread peace feed people be kind to your relatives and pray at night when others are asleep and you will enter Jannah safely. Why because only actions deliver results.
I present to you a man in my country behind
that passage you're seeing is a is a passage that was
carved out of a mountain he created a passage out of a mountain using a chisel and a hammer took him 22 years. She did that because his wife died because she had to be taken around that mountain to reach the hospital, which was 19 kilometers away from his village and she died. And after she died, buzzard Mandy spent the next 22 years
cutting a mountain apart to create a short route to the hospital. Courage comes in many forms
the possibility to speak out when that will not win friends.
I quote for you Dr. Martin Martin Luther King Jr. has a wonderful quote. He said cowardice asked the question Is it safe? experience he asked the question is it politic? vanity asked the question is it popular? But conscience asked the question, Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but one must take it because it is right. As I said to you, the purpose of education is to awaken the conscience.
Solomon said, the best type of jihad, the best struggle in the path of Allah is to speak the truth in the presence of a tyrannical ruler.
impossibility to hold themselves accountable when they have power.
So Lhasa Sallam said about the treatment of non Muslims when Muslims have authority. He said if any man if any Muslim oppresses or non Muslim, or tries him beyond his strength, I will be the advocate for the oppressed before Allah, the prophet of Islam is promising to be the advocate of a man who does not even believe in Him before the God who the man does not believe in on the day when all of us will be called to account before our Creator.
It is because of this there are no Katara Milan when Jerusalem was opened, he wrote this treaty, and the old treaty is there before you. I just want to read the last line of that treaty, they will not be forcibly converted a treaty which gives equal rights to the Muslims and the non Muslims and in this case, they were the Jews and the Christians in Jerusalem. It gives them equal rights. It gives them safety for themselves, and their places of worship, for their rituals and for their things which they hold sacred. And which states very clearly, that their churches and places of worship will not be inhabited by Muslims and will not be destroyed neither day nor the land on which they
stand, nor their crosses nor their property will be damaged and they will not be forcibly converted.
But today we have created a state.
We Muslims have created a state
acting as pawns for others.
I present you the picture of this little girl.
She's surrendering because you think the cameras are gone.
This is our crease.
That's why summit you
were excellencies Ladies and gentlemen, that faith education is the only way in which we can return to those ethics, morals and values that defined us when we were at our best. Faith education awakens the conscience and gives us criteria to judge our actions. Good, bad, right, wrong, are all faiths terms. Without them, life is reduced to commercial expediency. The choice is ours to make and we will be judged by what we choose. Thank you very much.